Flowers from my momma

Sometimes when life gets crazy we all need to remember to stop and smell the roses.

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Which is exactly what I did tonight. My mom was in town to babysit my cousin so after acupuncture I swung by to have a bowl of chili and some mom-daughter bonding time. While I was sitting there, there were a million things running through my mind that I needed to do but I did my best to turn them off.

I’m so lucky to have a mom who cares about me so much that she’ll just surprise me with flowers (my favorites in my favorite colors) because she loves me.

I can only hope one day to be as good of a mom as she is.

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not trying to just post pics of myself but since I didn’t get one of the two of us together I’m posting the one she took…after many laughs and out-takes.

And with that, I’m off to bed (with a belly STUFFED full of Kit Kats and Reese’s PB Cups).

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2 October Challenges, family visits + I can’t stop eating M&Ms

Couple things to talk about today…the most interesting might be that I physically cannot stop eating M&Ms.  Like seriously impossible.  My mom gave me a bag of the minis which she said we were suppose to save and give out as Halloween Candy (um, have you met me and my sweet tooth) and I wasn’t going to open them I swear, but I got snacky on the car ride home from Olympia and well, pretty much I’ve done nothing but dive into the bags ever since.

And while eating all that candy wasn’t good I’d like to think of it as my last hoorah before October challenge number one starts tomorrow.  Challenge one = no sugar.  One of the pilates teachers and the Zumba teacher at the gym are giving up sugar and I’m joining in.  They’re following this 21 day detox plan which includes both sugar and alcohol and I’m sure a couple other things that you can find in the guide.  I haven’t gotten the guide and I don’t know how closely I’ll follow the alcohol plan because cutting out sugar is enough.  And we’re not talking natural sugar, we’re talking sweets – candy, cookies, M&Ms’ etc.  Last weekend I told my grandma I was going to give up candy starting last Monday and I did good until the weekend when I blew it on some delicious banana, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies that Chris’ grandma made me so hopefully a new month will give me that push to really make it happen.  Let me know if you want to join me, I could definitely use the support.

October challenge number two is a fun little contest I found here. It’s called the Rocktober challenge and basically every day there’s a fitness/healthy challenge that you need to do and take a picture of and then tweet it to @MichelleLMyers.  Tomorrow is “athletic shoes.”  Easy.  I looked at the rest of the month and they’re pretty fun – wall sit, favorite nut butter, fitness quote that inspires you…Oh and best part, you are entered to win prizes if you complete the whole month.

And now, the actual reason I started this post, the recap of my weekend.  We went up to Seattle to watch my Washington State Cougars take on the Oregon Ducks.  I knew it was going to be a blow-out so I didn’t have very high expectations but surprisingly the Cougs held their own for the first half before stinking it up big time in the second.

And because we like to pack in as many things and people as possible, we hung out with Chris’ grandma and cousin on Saturday where beyond just feeding us delicious cookies made a tasty lunch of grilled turkey, grain salad, fresh from the garden tomatoes and avocados.

We also hung out with my dad, step-mom and sister.

And on the way home this afternoon we stopped in Olympia and had lunch with my mom, brother and grandma at Red Robin (and it was delicious – the whiskey river BBQ chicken wrap with honey mustard for the fries in one of my most favorite meals).

And now that I’ve written a novel it’s time to go.  Revenge is on!

Happy Saturday

Happy Saturday my friends. Hoping you have some fun things planned today? I will be at the WSU v Oregon game where I will be watching my Cougs get crushed by the Ducks. They’re predicted to lose by 28 points. Yikes.

On the trip up to Seattle Chris and I played one of our favorite car games – name that 80’s or 90’s tune. You have to guess the artist, title and year of the song. Trust me. It makes car rides fly by.

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We stopped in Olympia and saw my brother on the way up. Loved hanging out with him. I don’t get to see him nearly enough. Also in Olympia we saw a gorgeous sunset.

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When we got to Seattle I chatted with my sister and got stressed out about the youth of America. She is 11 and receiving texts from stalkerish boy who calls her sexy and goes to school with a group of girls who call themselves the “sexy 7.” Do I really want to have kids? (Note – my sister does not participate in any if this “sexy” calling thank goodness).

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I also stayed up way too late watching Eight Below, the movie with Paul Walker and these amazing dogs in Antarctica. If you like dogs you should watch it. Totally tugs at your heart.

With that, I’m off to start my day but wanted to leave you with a quote I saw on Facebook.

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Adios.

Things I am jazzed about

Can you tell I’ve been busy at night enjoying our glorious weather that seems to be never-ending?  Instead of trying new recipes, taking pictures or talking about my workouts we’ve been celebrating our anniversary, meeting friends downtown for dinner, going on long walks and eating Chipotle.  Ahhh the life.  And the best part, it looks like the sun is going to stick around at least for another week which is even better because I’ll be able to lay out all day and enjoy it.

“How?”  You ask?

Because this gal is taking a vacation.  Except not really.  I just have tons of time off saved up. So much that if I don’t use it I’ll lose it so I took all of next week off.  Chris and I might go to the beach for a couple of days or we might not.  And on the days he has to go to work and I don’t, I’ll be laying out on the deck.  Soaking up those fleeting summer rays.  Can’t wait.

You know what else I can’t wait for?  The rodeo!  Tomorrow AM we’re heading to Pendleton, OR to catch the finals of the Pendleton Round Up.  We’ve never been to this rodeo and I’m super excited.  As long as I can find a cute dress to wear…that’s my after-work mission.

To match these boots.

But first I have to get through the rest of today.  A couple of meetings, a workout, the Coug game.

And while we’re on the topic of workouts, it has been a pretty good week on that front.  Pilates + cardio Monday and Wednesday, circuit workout + cardio Tuesday, and yesterday I went for a 4 mile run outside.  The best part – my knees didn’t hurt on the run, after it or this morning.

Alright, I feel like this post has been random enough so I better get a move on.  But, I will leave you with one of my favorite photos from Tuesday’s 2 year anniversary photo session (and by photo session I mean me strategically setting the camera on the deck and running back and forth between auto-timed shots).  Chance dog was so excited for me to be in the pic that he full-on licked my face.  That guy.

Hope you all have good weekends.

Picking berrries & making jam

This is how I spent the bulk of my weekend.  And it was awesome.  My mom came down to visit and wanted to get some use out of the big water bath canning pot she got me for my birthday so we set to work.  We drove out Smith’s Berry Barn which is the cutest place ever!  Not only do they have berries and produce to pick they also have a store on site where you can get just-picked fruits and veggies along with the most amazing gift shop ever.  I wanted everything! But I settled for a $30 bottle of lotion (side note, I know that is ridiculous but I HAD to have it).

Here are some snaps from the picking:

Bonus points for being run by Cougs :)

My mom :)

Amanda & me

So after we picked the berries (which we did in about 2 hours in the rain) we turned them into jam.  This was the 1st time I’ve made jam by myself.  Good thing my mom was around to help Amanda and I out or who knows what would have happened without her.

While my mom opted for a traditional recipe and used sugar, Amanda and I were determined to make “healthy” jam so we used honey and agave nectar.  Here’s the recipe we followed.  If I were to do it again, I’d cut way back on lemon juice and add a little more berries.  I wanted 3 solid pints and the original recipe got me 2.5.  I’d do something more like this:

Blackberry Honey Jam

  • 1 box no sugar pectin
  • 6 cups mashed  berries
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup honey or agave (we used a mix of both)

First, remove all the debris from your berries (my mom is an expert at this and does it in the field.  I learned the hard way and had to do it at home), lightly rinse with water and then mash them.

Definitely a little confusing to know how mashed is mashed enough.

And then measure out the cups.

Add the lemon juice and then bring to a boil on the stove.

Once your berries are on the stove, mix your honey/agave and pectin together and add to your berries once they start to boil.  Make sure you’re stirring this whole time and keep stirring (without reducing heat) until they set.  This was a little vague in the recipe we used and it turned out to be about 10 minutes.  You can test for “setness” but putting a little spoonful of berries in the freezer for about a minute.  You can easily tell when things have jelled.  Just keep cooking until set.

Then pour into jars.

Wipe off the rims, add the lids (make sure you get a tight seal) and add the rings.  Then put them in a water bath.

Make sure there is about 2 inches of water above the jars and bring to boil.  Put the lid on and boil for 20 minutes.  Remove the jars, check to make sure they sealed (the lid should be flat not popped) and store in a cool, dry place.

And there you go.  Jam.  If they don’t set you can pop them back into a water bath for another 20 minutes (2 had two jars that needed a 2nd round).

I also froze one flat for smoothies.  Lay all the berries out on a cookie sheet to freeze individually and then transfer to a freezer bag later.

I ended up with 7 jars of jam (a few from my mom’s berries) and an additional 2.5 gallon bags of frozen berries for smoothies.  It seems like a lot but I’m sure they’ll go fast.  Especially the frozen berries.  I’m actually considering going back next weekend for a few more and to check on their peppers and tomatoes which are supposed to be ready.  Now that I’ve tackled jam I’m ready to move onto tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Too bad my mom can’t come over every weekend.

Who out there has made jam?  Any favorite recipes?  Has anyone canned tomatoes and can tell me what I need to do for that?

 

 

 

 

5 miles, Paddle Boards, Brews, Bike Rides & Birthdays

Ok so you remember here how I talked about the perfect day? Well I was wrong. Yesterday truly was the perfect day. Pure bliss. A day that I will hopefully remember for many, many years to come. It also happened to be my father-in-law’s 59th birthday and I hope that when I turn 59 I have a day like this (and can be as fit as Chris’ parents are).

To start the day off, Chris and I went for an almost 5 mile run. Together. I can’t even tell you the last time this happened. He runs much faster than I do so normally we split up but he wanted to keep his pace in check and I pushed myself a littler more than normal.

And then I kicked it at the pool for a little bit, getting deeper into Night Circus (which is a great book) before we went off on our main adventure of the day.

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding!!!! Chris and I had tried it once before in Mexico and it was kind of disaster. Not sure if it was a rough ocean or small board but we sucked. We’ve been wanting to try it again for quite a while and when we floated the idea by Chris’ dad he said he’d love to try it on his birthday. Fantastic! We have a friend who owns a place in Bend (Stand on Liquid) so we headed on over to pick up some boards.

All 4 of us stood up and paddled for almost 2 hours, going both with and against the Deschutes current. It was so much fun. Much easier than in Mexico but still super impressed that both of my in-laws were out there paddling around with the best of them. How many 58 & 59 year olds do that? In fact, Chris’ dad was flying back up the river on the way back in while I was struggling in the distance. I’m ready to buy a board and become a SUP addict. Only problem being Portland lacks in good spots to do it….Oh well, guess this is just another reason we need a place in Bend :)

And because apparently SUP burns 500-700 calories an hour, we decided to head over to Deschutes Brewery and treat ourselves to some icy cold beers.

After an amazing day in Bend we headed back out to Sunriver, cleaned up and rode our bikes out to the marina for dinner just as the sun was setting.

Dinner was a mix tamarind margaritas, enchiladas, burritos (a few too many mosquitoes), an owl sighting, and an awesome view of the moon.

Which was in full force for our bike ride home. Let me tell you, there’s just something about riding your bike in the cool summer air, in the middle of the country, surrounded by a river, under a full moon, with fantastic people that makes you want to pinch yourself. It’s hard to believe that this is my life. I am so thankful.

And to cap off the night we cheers’ed to Chuck. Happy 59th Birthday!

What a great family I married into.

I am so glad we got to have yesterday. It was a perfect ending to an absolutely perfect vacation.

And while I would love to sit here and share more pics from our trip I’ve got to get a move on…you know, showering, unpacking…all those good things. But before I go, I wanted to remind you that my Diet Bet starts today. I’m starting off at 138.8 pounds and by September 1st my goal is to get to 132 pounds which means I’ve got quite the challenge ahead of me. Good luck to the rest of the ladies joining me and if anyone else wants in it’s not too late to sign up.

Oh and by way, head over to Robin’s Bite where you can see a feature on my fridge and why I fill it the way I do.

Sun River + the best smoothie ever

Hola! Happy Saturday morning to you :) Today is an extra good one for me since I’m hanging out in Sun River for the next few days. For those of you not familiar, Sun River is near Bend in Central Oregon and just so happens to be one of my favorite places ever. I just love the dry, sunny, dessert like climate. And everything smells deliciously of pine trees. Glorious.

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We’re here with my in-laws to celebrate my Father-in-law’s birthday on Tuesday and to just relax for the rest of the days. We got in last night (ps Chris and I both got up at 5am to make sure we got our workouts in. He ran, I rode the bike before we dropped Chance of for boarding…go us) walked down to the Village for dinner where I was good and ordered a chicken salad instead of a pulled pork sandwich and sweet potato fries and drank water while everyone else had beer. However I promptly ruined my good day of eating when we got home and discovered that a previous renter had left a big bowl of Reese’s PB cups in the cupboard. Whoops. Let’s not talk about how many I ate. Or the cookie I had after that or the glass of wine…(but in my defense I kept it to 1 only).

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But today’s a new day and a fresh start to eating. We brought our Magic Bullet so we could make smoothies and I whipped up a blueberry, banana, peanut butter concoction. Which was good but nothing like the one I made yesterday. It may have been my best smoothie EVER! You have to try it and tell me what you think.

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And now we’re off to check out a couple properties for sale (perfect world has us owning a vacation home here), followed by some pool time, bike rides and my honey dijon chicken and quinoa for dinner.

Hope you have a great day. Question for you – What’s your favorite place to vacation close to home?

And I’m back

Earlier today we got home from an awesome weekend.  I mean, we’re talking like one of the highlights of my summer :)  We headed up to my hometown of Olympia, WA Friday night and hung out with my mom, grandma, uncle and brother and then Saturday headed North on HWY 101 to DaBob bay which is in the northern part of Hood Canal, about 30ish minutes from Hoodsport.  It was beautiful.  We were out there with Chris’ family and I had a blast.

Here is a glimpse into my weekend…

Olympia

DaBob Bay (more pics to come later in the week)

Sunday Prep –

I mixed up a big bowl of chicken salad – boiled & shredded chicken, 1 can each of black beans and corn, 2 roasted sweet potatoes, leftover salsa and 2-3 oz of goat cheese.

And I slow jogged for 45 minutes on our new to us treadmill.  Our friend Mindy moved downtown and needed to get rid of stuff out of her garage and we lucked out and got her treadmill.  It’s awesome.  On the older end of things but great for some easy jogs.  I’ve been on it twice and love it.  I love the bike but I will always be a treadmill gal.

And now I’m out to watch Newsroom.  Have you seen it yet?

 

Marathon Days

Phew, my last couple days have been kind of a whirlwind.  Let’s start with Thursday which looked a little like this:

  • 5:30-6:30 AM: Spin Bike Cardio
  • 8-2PM: Work.  With back-to-back meetings
  • 2:15 – 6:15 drive to Seattle.  Now for those of you not familiar with the Pacific NW this drive should not take 4 hours.  3 hours is the average time it takes but we got stuck in horrible traffic.
  • 6:30 – Meet up with my dad at my parents house. Pile in the car with him, Chris and my aunt. Freak out momentarily when their dog escapes and runs down the street.  Have to get to the play so decide to leave him and hope he comes home.
  • 7-7:45 – watch my adorable, beautiful, growing up too fast little sister star as Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty.

  • 7:45 – 8 – head back to my parents house, find the dog, put him back in the house.
  • 8-9:30 – Dinner at Elliot Bay Brewery

  • 10PM – say goodbye to my dad and sister.  Wish I could stay longer but alas work calls.
  • 10-1AM – drive back to Seattle (Chris drove, he’s a saint).
  • 1:30 – 6:30 – Slept
  • Get to work in time for my 8AM meeting.

The trip was crazy fast but I’m so glad I went.  I love my little sister.  Like I don’t even know if words could even describe it.  I grew up with my brother (who I also love) but Payton came along and changed the dynamic of my family.  Not only was she the sister I always wanted but she really helped heal some troubled relationship stuff that had been going on. I’ll always remember the day I got the email from my dad telling me my step-mom was pregnant :)  And because we’re 19 years apart and she lives 3 hours away from me it’s super important for me to still be a part of her life as much as I can and when she got the lead in Sleeping Beauty there was no question that we were going to get up to see it.  No matter what kind of scheduling/commitments we’d have to shift around.

Payton is quite the performer.  Check out her Facebook and YouTube channel if you want more proof.  My sister has talent and this was actually the 1st real life performance I got to see since her talent has become really obvious.  I was shocked at the girl I saw on stage.  My little sister is fading fast and getting replaced with a beautiful, teenager and I can’t wait for all the big things that are going to come up in the future.

And now back to my life…Friday flew by at work and then we went out to celebrate our friend Andy’s birthday.  Andy and Sunny are heading to Amsterdam in a few weeks so this was one of the last times we’ll get to hang out with them until they come back in January.  I’m going to miss them but they are heading off onto a super cool adventure and I know they’re going to have an amazing time.  Plus, word on the street is that I’ll be heading to Amsterdam for work in August so hopefully we’ll get to connect.

And of course, the night wouldn’t be complete without a nightcap at Journey’s.

Today we slept in and enjoyed a lazy morning with breakfast and coffee and then at around noon we met up with some friends and floated the Clackamas river.  I’ve lived here for 8 years and this is the 1st time I’ve ever floated that river.  It was awesome!  Such a perfect day.  The river has a couple little rapids but for the most part is just a couple hours of smooth sailing with great people.  Floating the Clackamas has always been on my Portland bucket list and I’m so glad I can finally cross it off.  Plus now that we know how fun and easy it is to do I’m sure there will be many more trips in our future.

And now we’re home, having Papa Murphy’s for dinner and enjoying a rare night in.

What about you guys?  What’s one thing on your summer bucket list?